FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office says it has solved a missing person cold case.

Deputies joined members of the Forsyth County Fire Department the afternoon of Nov. 17 on a 911 call from a fisherman who spotted a submerged van in Lake Lanier. The van was located off Beaver Ruin Road, roughly 30 yards from shore and in about 20 yards deep, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater said. 

After the 2002 Dodge Caravan was removed safely from the lake, officials were able to preliminarily confirm the identity of the body as that of Van Dobbs, 56, of Forsyth County, who had been reported missing since June.

Rainwater did not speculate on the reason Dobbs ended up in the lake, saying only that foul play is not suspected in the death. 

He said deputies used the tag number on the van to help identify Dobbs. He said the victim also was wearing the same clothes as when he was last seen. 

The body has been transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for an autopsy. 

The Sheriff’s Office had conducted an extensive search for Dobbs during the summer and fall, including aerial and marine searches around Lake Lanier with the assistance of the Georgia State Patrol Aviation Unit and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division. 

— Denise Ray


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